Holding onto Jonathan Bernier is starting to look like an absolutely fantastic decision for the Los Angeles Kings.
Bernier had been the subject of trade rumors last summer, as well as into this season, after the Kings locked up starting goaltender Jonathan Quick with a 10-year extension after he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Kings took home their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
It’s difficult to imagine where this Kings team might be without Bernier in the fold. He’s been a figure of consistency for the defending champs. When the club, Quick in particular, has struggled, Bernier has been right there to perform well between the pipes.
That consistency was rewarded as he notched his first shutout of the season on Thursday night, against the Minnesota Wild. He came up with 23 saves in the win as the Kings continued their spring surge towards the postseason.
On the season, Bernier’s numbers actually look really good, better than Quick’s in fact. He’s boasting a 9-2-0 record on the year, with a very solid .927 save percentage and terrific 1.77 goals-against average. There’s certainly a point to be made about whether or not the Kings should be riding Bernier while he’s hot, rather than starting Quick’s <.900 save percentage.
Bernier has done an exceptional job increasing his trade value, while helping the Kings to climb out of their early season slump. They’ll be able to bring back a nice haul for him when they trade him during the summer. It’s unfortunate that money talks, because if Quick hadn’t signed that monster deal, we might be looking at a goalie controversy in Hollywood.